My peer is in my shorts. Help!

My peer is in my shorts. Help!

My peer inserts herself into everything. If she’s cc’d on an email, you can bet she’s going to take action. She creates a whole lot of extra work for me and is making me crazy. How can I get her to stop? J.T., New York, NY

First, I’d change my assumptions about why she’s doing this. If she’s consistently inserting herself, her behavior is about her, not you. Is she trying to be helpful? Does she feel the need to consistently show value? Does she believe she is cc’d to take action? Unless you’ve spoken with her directly, chances are good she’s unaware of the impact of her behavior on her peers.

Assuming she’s taking action on emails addressed specifically to you, have a conversation with her. Focus on efficiency and the desire for role clarity in your department. It could sound something like this: “Sue, I appreciate that you’re always the first one to jump into action. When an email is directed specifically to me, though, it’s my problem to solve. I’m concerned that if you take action, it muddies the water in terms of who is responsible for what. That means everything will start coming your way and will make it hard for you to do your job.”

If she’s taking action on emails not directed toward you, it’s not your problem to solve.

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